Saturday, May 21, 2016

How to Solve Traffic Congestion

Among proposals to ease Laguna Beach traffic congestion is elevating the South Coast Highway through downtown creating a double-decker highway. The first video is an elevated highway built in Taiwan where city becomes functionally efficient but the cultural experience is lost.

The Chinese followed early construction mandates with the same results. Today our federal and state highway departments recognize building more auto infrastructure to relieve ever denser auto congestion is no longer effective. The Federal Highway Administration has changed policy to accommodate other roadway users, and DOT Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (begun by Ray LaHood) leads the way.  Finally the California DOT Caltrans makes their confession here, adding highway infrastructure doesn't solve traffic congestion. 

Finally, motorist traffic is a complex social interaction, providing new automobile infrastructure simply invites more driving. Rather than building infrastructure, use the power of nudging social behavior to modify a complex social interaction like driving. The results are surprising as researchers in Stockhom Sweden discovered. Watch "How to Solve Traffic Jams" by Jonas Eliasson.

To reduce traffic congestion create incentives to change driving behavior, develop alternatives to driving autos, impose congestion fees, impose flexible demand scheduling, adopt flexible parking requirements.
  • People will plan how to adapt
  • People will adapt quickly
  • People will embrace the change

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